A music project working with young people has won a major award of £120,000 from the National Foundation for Youth Music.
The Exchanging Notes project in Hartlepool will develop music activities to support young people who are at risk of being low achievers or excluded from school.
It is one of ten pioneering projects across England that have been awarded grants totalling £1,195,308 to explore new collaborative approaches to music education in schools for young people at risk.
The project will build on the work that Musinc - the Middlesbrough-based Teesside musical inclusion resource - has done in Hartlepool over the last two years with young people at risk of disengaging from education.
Musinc projects have included Apollo Arts and Hartlepool Integrated Youth Services at Rossmere Youth Centre, singing and song writing at Wharton Trust with singer Liz Corney and a musician in residence, Duncan Kirby, at Hartlepool Pupil Referral Unit.
Musinc Musical Inclusion Development Officer Gwyneth Lamb said: “The Exchanging Notes project will keep the focus on young people at risk of disengagement from education and will encourage practice sharing between schools and community musicians.
“It will be part of the legacy of Musinc, which ends in 2015, providing Hartlepool with a core of activity for four years which can be expanded.”
Projects will be delivered in areas of high deprivation, with sessions likely to include song-writing, singing, performance and recording.
Students from learning support units at English Martyrs, High Tunstall College of Science and Manor College of Technology will also benefit from the four-year programme.
The project will be delivered by Hartlepool Borough Council with a strong emphasis on partnership working between the schools and the Pupil Referral Unit, Integrated Youth Support Service, Wharton Trust, Tees Valley Music Service and Apollo Arts, supported by musinc.
Councillor Chris Simmons, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Children’s Services Committee, said: “I am delighted at the news of this grant award.
“Music has an important role to play in the lives of all children, whether it involves them learning to play an instrument, learning to sing or taking part in some other form of musical activity.
“Music can help children to improve their communications skills, while also teaching them the importance of working as team and getting on with other young people.
“During my extensive career of teaching music, I have seen at first hand the beneficial impact of music on the lives of children on many occasions.”
The idea for the project came after a pilot by Youth Music highlighted big differences in how youngsters benefit from music teaching out of school compared to in the classroom.
Matt Griffiths, executive director of Youth Music, said: “We’re delighted to support this project in Hartlepool which I’m sure will be of great benefit to the pupils involved.
“We look forward to the results of the research with great excitement as it is the first time such a rigorous study of combined approaches between schools and music providers, who normally work in out-of-school settings, has been done.
“The results may well turn out to be of enormous significance to stimulate fresh thinking in music education and support the aspirations set out in the National Plan for Music Education.”